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Wealth inequality is one of the most significant challenges of modern times. It can lead to unequal societies, social instability, violence and unrest, and further societal problems that affect the world at large. Typically, in countries with low inequality, the government redistributes wealth through taxation and other means, investing it in equality of opportunity, education and healthcare. However, in countries with high inequality, new modes of engagement are necessary to reduce the growing disparity between different social groups.
The Julius Baer Foundation strategically supports projects that help counterbalance the wealth gap and build trust between all groups in society. Working with pioneers in the field of wealth inequality, the Foundation also promotes initiatives that go beyond poverty reduction by bringing together all stakeholders to create mutually beneficial partnerships.
The Wealth Inequality Initiative
The Julius Baer Foundation new initiative is designed to raise awareness and to advance the international dialogue on wealth inequality. At www.wealth-inequality.net we bring together experts, key players and actors in the field to share their expertise and successful projects with the public. Through a multi-stakeholder approach, we aspire to win broad support for this quest, drive awareness to the issue of inequality, and spur action to reduce it.
Wealth inequality is the unequal distribution of assets amongst people and organisations. It encompasses not only the lack of financial resources but also the lack of social capital1, which allows an individual to access the networks and opportunities necessary to live a dignified life. A systemic, sustainable approach to reducing wealth inequality must target both economic and social dimensions.
Sensitive to the outcomes of a polarised society, the Julius Baer Foundation believes that, when brought together, socio-economic groups from either end of the income ladder have much to learn from each other. With this in mind, we seek to bring together people from the top 10% and the bottom 40% of society to encourage collaboration and exchange, and support development of partnership-based collaborations focused on wealth redistribution and social mobility.
The Julius Baer Foundation aims to transform wealth inequality ideas into operating projects in the following ways:
• Exposing the problem of inequality and understanding its particular context
• Identifying who is at the table – e.g. diverse social groups, partners, and stakeholders
• Constructing a rationale by understanding the motivation of each group
• Facilitating the negotiation of a common approach
• Acting as a ‘possibility broker’ for a wealth redistribution plan or strategy
The Julius Baer Foundation values in particular non-charitable and productive partnerships that go beyond mere monetary donations. This means that the beneficiaries of these initiatives are directly involved in enabling social mobility and that the emphasis is on sharing structural resources that reduce wealth inequality.
1 Social capital can be understood as the assets, resources and benefits obtained from having networks and social interactions between individuals and groups (Putnam, 1995; Adler & Kwon, 2002; Claridge, 2004; Reyes et al., 2018)